We Picked Out A Spot And Made A Hole: Jack And The Cuckoo-Clock Heart Review, Part One

26 Jan

Every once and a while, somebody will ask how I choose which movies to review. And you know what? I actually do have a very simple system. Namely, I pick ones who I can come up with titles for. And come on, Jack And The Cuckoo-Clock Heart?! I know like five different songs I can reference with a title like that!


So, does that mean Jack’s heart can tell time?

But even discounting the eye catching title, Cuckoo-Clock Heart has a pretty interesting background. Namely, it was based on a French concept album by the band Dionysos, and a children’s book written by the band’s lead singer. Which would be pretty impressive, if I had… you know, ever heard of “Dionysos”. Maybe the Greek god of cuckoo-clocks getting wasted?


The movie opens with a slow pan over your standard issue twisted industrial age city, a’la The Boxtrolls, Fable 3, or A Machine For Pigs. The entire city is frosting over, in the middle of a devastating winter, until a bird flies into the camera- and suddenly he turned the soundtrack on! Jesus, guys, don’t go from “tinkling cuckoo noises” to “righteous guitar solo”, you just about gave me whiplash.

Soon, the titular Jack starts singing the backstory of his birth, while we watch the events unfold. Namely, his very pregnant mother had to hike up an icy mountain on the coldest day on Earth, because the only midwife in town lives on top of a mountain and who the fuck decided that the only midwife in town should life on top of a mountain.

After she yanks the baby Jack out, she quickly realizes that his heart is cold. No, literally, his heart is literally made out of ice. And he’s still perfectly alive, oddly enough, at least long enough for the Midwife to MacGyver up a solution. Namely, blowtorch a new heart out of a couple clocks and shove it inside of his chest cavity!

… My god. It’s the best mission of Surgeon Simulator ever.

Seriously, fuck this game.

The Midwife gives the little Jack a few rules, because, you know, a new-born baby is great at following rules. Rule one is not to stop the hands on his cuckoo-clock heart, rule two is not to lose his temper, and rule three is to never fall in love, because if he does, his bones will implode, his chest will explode, and his heart will freeze forever holy shit France, this children’s movie has gotten dark in a millisecond.

That night, as Jack and his mother stay the night at the Midwife’s house, the mother… decides to leave and let the Midwife handle raising her son?! I… I don’t- DICK MOVE, LADY! So, what, you abandoned your little clock baby, because… he didn’t use a digital clock?! Seriously, what the fuck?!

Ten years later, it’s Jack’s birthday, and unfortunately the Midwife is too busy to take him down to town. She heads off with her two… daughters (???) Anna and Luna to go see the storks (?!?!), while one of the Midwife’s patients with a xylophone for a back (!!!!!!) gives him a boiled egg for a birthday present (?!?!?!?!?!).

Thankfully, the Midwife finishes up quickly, and they’re soon off to the city! Jack wanders around, ogles pretty ladies clocks, and manages to escape the Midwife long enough to hunt down the sound of a barrel organ. And of course, he also manages to find the pretty girl playing it too. They share a duet together, about how… she hates wearing glasses? Look, it makes more sense the way she sings it. Also, I know these songs were written by grown-ups, but… I’m really having trouble believing a ten-year old would sing “I want to tear your clothes off with my teeth and rip them into confetti”.

… Seriously. 

Jesus fuck, guys.

The two sing and dance, and it’s all very sweet, but just before they finally kiss, Jack’s heart gives out, and he passes out. Just like most guys before their first kiss. The Midwife runs in and manages to get Jack out of there, repairing his heart and dragging him away, admonishing him and the girl the whole time. Man, I hate it whenever get in trouble for almost kissing a cyborg to death.

[Editor’s Note: Does that happen a lot?]

Only at anime conventions.

Pictured: Me. In the back. Making out with cyborgs.

After a quick dream sequence, Jack wakes up the next morning, with the Midwife explaining how… she’s infertile? Wow, French movies are kinda hardcore. Sooooo I guess that means Anna and Luna aren’t her daughters, and speak of the devil, as they both show up and demand to know how Jack’s day on the town went. Oh, and they showed up with a gerbil in a matchbox, and flowers for him! Flowers… that they stole from a graveyard.

… What.

Jack notices that Luna is wearing the same dress as the singing girl, who says that it was her old school uniform, so we cut to him asking the Midwife if he can enroll in school. Whiiiiich he does immediately! Wow, I guess she already had all the legal paperwork ready for “tiny ten year old with a clockwork heart”.

We cut to Jack showing up to school, asking around for his singing sweetheart, and unfortunately, there’s a murderous tyrannical dictator at the school who threatens to murder Jack for merely asking about her. But, you know, he also tells Jack her name, so… he’s  a really helpful murderous psychopath?

Miss Acacia is the name, and she has apparently gone abroad, but Jack decides to stick it out. Years go by, till his fourteenth birthday, of the school yard boys constantly torturing him. Like… literally torturing him. Opening up his heart and winding up his gears until he is physically incapable of moving. But one day, as they head into class, the crazy student, Joe, drops a letter from Miss Acacia, including an address. Jack picks it up, Joe notices him, and the two start to wrestle for it.

Joe starts trying to tear Jack’s heart out with his bare hands, but he ends up leaning to close, and-



2 Responses to “We Picked Out A Spot And Made A Hole: Jack And The Cuckoo-Clock Heart Review, Part One”


  1. There’s Blood On My Bed, But Here In My Head, I’m Feeling Fine: Jack And The Cuckoo-Clock Heart Review, Part Two | A VERY STRANGE PLACE - January 28, 2015

    […] Previously, on Cuckoo-Clock Heart: The fourteen year old Jack, and his clockwork heart, is on the hunt for Miss Acacia, the girl he’s fallen in love with. Only problem is, falling in love will actually make his heart explode. Oh, and of course, there’s the school bully, Joe, who also has a thing for Miss Acacia, but he’s a bit less of a problem. Seeing as Jack stabbed him in the eye with his cuckoo-clock. Which I assume is a perfectly normal part of human mating. […]

  2. It’s Easy To Sleep When I’m Not Buzzing All The Time: Jack And The Cuckoo-Clock Heart Review, Part Three | A VERY STRANGE PLACE - January 31, 2015

    […] Previously, on Jack And The Cuckoo-Clock Heart: Jack, of the cuckoo-clock heart, has hunted down his long-lost sweetheart, Miss Acacia, at a carnival. Unfortunately, while she’s in love with Jack from long-ago, she doesn’t actually recognize him. Which is doubly unfortunate, because Jack is too much of a tightly wound pansy to tell her yet. […]

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